06 March 2008

A post in which I reveal many vices.

In the last hiccup in my employment continuum, I was a lot less angst ridden. I attribute a lot of my ire to the fact that I've been on a more depressive tract. I've spent much of this winter attempting to figure out ways to disappear completely or at least try to disengage with society. While I wasn't successful in my attempts at evaporation (thanks in part to my compulsive need to check email and social networking hoopla), I am convinced that it would be at least a week or two before anyone noticed my disappearance.

I'm also angrier because I'm still paying for the last episode. My last hiatus included a cross-country move. Subsequently, there was a stint in which I spent several nights a week in bars watching my friend do a ton of coke off of really disgusting surfaces before he headed home with a different boy each night of the week. My tolerance for this habit was fueled by whiskey and a propensity for shaking what my mama gave me if presented with the opportunity. Cross-country moves and nights with booze are expensive. Let this be a lesson to all ye whipper snappers.

Speaking of Mama, I've finally e-mailed Mama Crow a link to the blog after Mr. Mead let the cat out of the bag last month. So, let me take this opportunity to say, "Hi, Mama!" and also, in light of the previous paragraph, "Don't do drugs."

So here I am, a few years older and disproportionately more bitter. I've been trying to figure out what would make this period of frustration and boredom more palatable. Or at least more lucrative. I am trying to think back to the days of yore for inspiration. I've had a couple of ideas, both complicit with pros and cons.

First off, I could sing on street corners. During the last break in employment, I stood out in the cold singing Christmas carols in downtown Portland. It filled a good 20 hours, and I made over $150. I felt a little shy about it, but I never ran into anyone I knew and that made it OK. Now, I've got a bigger complex about being seen. I also have a bit of a problem insofar as I don't know any decent Easter carols. It's not going to happen.

Volunteering is my other idea. But it seems I've developed a bit of a complex about volunteering, too. Back in the day, I postponed my move to Portland to look after my sister's kitties while she spent a few weeks in China. Looking after cats does not keep your days full, so volunteered at the neighborhood branch of the Fairfax County Library. It started out with four hours every morning, processing holds, repairing damaged materials, and sorting interlibrary loan books for delivery. It kept me busy, which kept me sane.

By the end of the month, I was picking up shifts (gratis) from a wayward library page. I worked full time (and then some) at the Martha Washington Library. When I was finally about to leave for the west coast, the volunteer coordinator sat me down. She looked at me sternly and told me, "No one should ever work as hard as you do for free."

After years in the theatre, it didn't strike me as odd to contribute so many hours without getting paid. Sure, the work might be physically grueling, tedious, or might go unnoticed by most people. But, as they say, the show must go on. Do what needs to be done, blood, tears, and first born children are sacrificed with no questions asked.

It turns out that most people, including my entire family, are convinced that I have some sort of idiot streak running through me for working so hard without pay. This includes work for theatre. As my sister, whom I esteem for her wisdom and keen sense of observation, once said,"Jeez. Sometimes they should pay me for sitting through it."

I realize that the librarian's point was not to discourage me from volunteering but to alert me to the fact that expectations for volunteers are set quite low. But I can't not work hard. Maybe that's a fault, but I feel morally corrupt if I give a half-assed performance.

I blame the theatre.

I'll end on a tangent. I'm bringing this up, not because it's particularly pertinent to today's post, but because referring to other blogs brings in an element of time sensitivity.

I've been an avid reader of fourfour for at least two years. I first came to read this blog for the now extinct Project Runway recaps, but I was hooked after my first few doses of Winston. I think Rich has a pretty good finger on the pulse of pop culture kitsch. His music reviews are astute, his ANTM crying counts are priceless. He's truly one of the Internet's cool kids.

I wanted to bring this blog to your attention because of the tenacity and verve of his latest entry, This post is brought to you courtesy of Black History Month. Rich's honest perspective speaks volumes about developing an identity as someone perceived as an outsider. I think it is some of his best work. Along with his previous entry, Just because I'm a fag, it doesn't mean I'm a bitch, Rich brings up the issue of the prevalence of homophobia. His response: "When I'm not laughing about the absurdity of it all, I'm raging..." Bravo, Rich. Everyone should be outraged.


Anonymous said...

I have to admit after spending the past two years in Chicago working my ass off for the theatre (and expected to do more - what IS it with the theatre) and not getting paid and hardly working at all at the job I do get paid for; I've decided the employment fairies are little off - or maybe just enjoy a good laugh.

k. crow said...

I can has paychex cheezburger?

Anonymous said...

Well written article.